February is heart month in Canada, an opportunity to increase awareness about what we can do to improve our heart health. Heart disease affects over 2.5 million Canadians annually and is Canada's second-leading cause of death. The good news is that there are lifestyle changes you can make that can lower your risk of developing heart disease.
A healthy diet can help prevent heart disease
Changing your diet can promote heart health and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. A few tips to help get you on the path to a heart-healthy diet include controlling your portion sizes; incorporating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat protein sources into your diet; reducing unhealthy fats and salt; and planning by creating daily menus.
Improve blood pressure with exercise
Many effective forms of exercise vary in intensity: from walking to high-intensity interval training. In older adults who were previously inactive, walking, can reduce some risk factors for heart disease – including body fat, blood pressure, body mass index, and body weight. High-intensity interval training (known as HIIT) can also decrease risk factors for heart disease in adults living with overweight or obesity and is most effective when performed at least three times weekly for more than 12 weeks. Whatever your preference, consider incorporating some form of exercise into your everyday routine to benefit your long-term health and well-being.
When it comes to adopting new behaviours, start small. Make subtle changes to your diet and incorporate some form of physical activity into your routine. To learn more, read through our featured resources below.